Travel: Forget red roses, I'd rather be in Iran

WHAT? Not spending a couple of thousand quid on a romantically expensive Valentine's Day break in Paris? Shame on you. You have been unmoved by a mountain of PR hype. Obviously, you do not love your partner enough. You are the kind of person who would fail to take your mother on holiday for Mothers' Day.

For your benefit, in fact, I have gone to the trouble of thinking up more specious reasons for taking costly short holidays this year. I am using historical anniversaries as my criteria and if you ignore these I am afraid that we can only assume that you have no interest in the origins or destiny of humankind.

For a start, you had better head east as quickly as possible. It was exactly 20 years ago, in February 1979, that revolutionaries were taking over the government in Tehran. You'll need a multiple entry visa for Iran by the way: in June you'll be back for the 10th anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's death, and in November it'll be 20 years since the seizure of the American Embassy by students.

June will be a busy month for you, because you will also need to be in Tiananmen Square in Peking for the 10th anniversary of the 4 June massacre, though I suggest that you do not try unfurling any posters while you are there. China, like Iran, is a country you'll be visiting at least twice this year. In October you'll be in Tiananmen Square again, this time for the 50th anniversary of Chairman Mao's proclamation of the People's Republic of China. A couple of weeks later you will be in New York for the 70th anniversary of the Wall Street Crash.

Don't imagine that this is the end of it. At the end of summer you will also have to visit Gdansk to consider the 60 years that have elapsed since Hitler's invasion of Poland. Indeed, you'll have to spend much of the autumn parachuting into Eastern Europe, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the overthrow of Communism in various capitals. You will share the joy of Berliners where the Wall used to be in November, and at Christmas you will dance with Romanians in Ceausescu's empty palaces.

But these 20th-century events are merely the tip of the iceberg. No self-respecting traveller could fail to visit South Africa on the 100th anniversary of the (second) Boer War, which broke out in October 1899. And I, for one, would not want to miss the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's seizure of power in Paris. Older anniversaries may not look as significant as these though I suppose one ought to make an effort to turn up for the 1,000th anniversary of the last expedition of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II against the Fatimids in Syria.

Having gone back that far, why stop? Some 1,200 years ago Charlemagne was gearing up to become Holy Roman Emperor. Nineteen hundred years ago Trajan was about to carry Roman armies to the Caspian Sea. Exactly 2,000 years ago, in 1 BC, Augustus Caesar was still fulminating over the banishment a year earlier of his daughter Julia for immoral practices.

After that dates become a little approximate, but I note that this is (roughly) the 3,000th anniversary of the construction of the Temple of Solomon, the 4,000th anniversary of the rise of the Hittites and the 6,000th anniversary of the origins of Sumerian pictographic writing. A tour through Israel, Turkey and Iraq appears to be called for.

Come to think of it, it is also 1,500,000 years since the invention of bifacially flaked hand axes in Africa. I suppose we had better book our anniversary tours before it is too late (but take care they don't clash with Fathers' Day).

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn